Former state workers can claim unemployment benefits in Georgia when they lose their jobs and meet all the requirements of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program. The federal unemployment benefits program is implemented within the state by the GA Department of Labor (GDOL), which handles all unemployment benefits claims in Georgia. Dismissed employees who are wondering how to claim unemployment benefits in GA may simply fill out an online UI claim or submit a paper application through the GDOL Career Centers. Note that, however, claiming benefits for unemployment on a regular basis is only possible for UI applicants who meet additional eligibility criteria during a weekly recertification procedure. Depending on the UI petitioner’s average wages, the weekly amount of federal unemployment benefits in GA varies anywhere between $44 and $330. The maximum number of UI weekly payments, on the other hand, is determined by the total unemployment rate (TUR) of the state when you file your UI application. The GDOL does not follow the standard 26-week benefits period, and instead provides benefits for a varying duration between 14 and 20 weeks. The higher the state TUR, the longer your unemployment benefits claim will be valid. In addition to the standard UI payments, the department also offers unemployment benefits extensions. These UI continuations, however, can only be obtained during times of high unemployment, when the state activates an extended benefits program.
Read the below sections to learn more about claiming benefits for unemployment and how to maintain your qualifications for the UI program:
- How to claim unemployment benefits in Georgia
- How to maintain your Georgia unemployment benefits claim
- Georgia federal unemployment benefits and federal income taxes
How to Claim Unemployment Benefits in Georgia
The most convenient method to submit an unemployment benefits claim in Georgia is to use the department’s online Unemployment Insurance Claim Application and provide your information via the internet. According to the UI program’s guidelines, only workers who were not at fault for losing their jobs, and who have earned an adequate amount of wages during a 12-month base period, can claim unemployment benefits in Georgia.
State employees who fulfill the above requirements can finalize the federal unemployment benefits application procedure in several straightforward steps. These include providing their Social Security Number and personal information, entering extensive information about their jobs from the last two years, and obtaining a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN).
After filing the initial Georgia unemployment benefits claim, the GDOL will commence the determination procedure, which is comprised of several stages. First, a GDOL official will inspect the UI claim for completeness. Then, if no additional items are required, the UI application will be examined according to the work and wage eligibility criteria. Finally, the department will mail out the Claims Examiner’s Determination, informing the employee of whether or not he or she can start claiming benefits for unemployment in GA.
Note: The GDOL also offers partial unemployment benefits to state workers who are working less than full time.
How to Maintain Your Georgia Unemployment Benefits Claim
As the purpose of federal unemployment benefits in Georgia is to provide financial stability to unemployed job seekers, UI beneficiaries will have to undergo a regular certification process to prove that they belong in this category. To claim unemployment benefits payments on a weekly basis, state employees can use the GDOL Certification Access service available via the department’s website.
After accessing the internet recertification form, by providing their Social Security Number and the four-digit PIN number, UI applicants will be required to provide truthful answers to several questions:
- Were you actively seeking employment?
- Were you physically and mentally able to work?
- Were you available for a job that suits your abilities?
- Were you offered such employment and did you refuse it?
- Did you have any earnings, and if so, how much did you earn?
Petitioners whose weekly unemployment benefits claim was accepted will receive their standard UI paycheck within two to three days.
Note: Unemployment claimants can also complete the weekly UI recertification procedure by phone.
Learn About Georgia Federal Unemployment Benefits and Federal Income Taxes
Federal unemployment benefits are taxable, and state workers who are claiming benefits for unemployment must report them on both their state and federal income tax returns. The state Department of Labor offers UI beneficiaries the option to have one or both types of taxes deducted from their weekly benefits. While state taxes are withdrawn at the rate of six percent, federal taxes are collected at the rate of 10 percent.
UI recipients can choose the tax deduction option when they claim unemployment benefits in GA for the first time. However, you will have one opportunity during your benefit year to change the tax-withholding preference. At the end of the year, the GDOL will send the IRS 1099-G form to UI beneficiaries to inform them of the amount of benefits they have received. If you chose to have your taxes deducted from your weekly UI paychecks, this information will be displayed in the form.